My day hike schedule on Friday the 13th (July 13) was a harsh crossover climb featuring two dominant mountain ranges in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur; Mt. Loay and the less-trekked Kiblan base located in barangay Coronon where the Binuangon Spring emanates. Kiblan stands for Kibarangan and Langan, two sitios in Coronon that assemble in a common point connecting the other sitio down east in Piton which eventually links to Coronon national highway.
Mt. Loay now starts to become very popular among day hikers in the region with its all-uphill terrain trail highlighted by farm lands and attractive summit. Add to that, this mountain will host a Vertical Kilometer race come August 18, making it an instant venue for trail running in Davao region. As usual, we were greeted with the beautiful view of the entire Sta. Cruz landscape and seascape in the summit. Mt. Bariraya (the one we referred to as G2 of the South), was very visible, making it the tallest peak in the strip made up of barangays Zone 2, Zone 1 and Coronon.
I heard variety of bird species in the trail of Loay, most notable among them were White-eared Brown Doves and Zebra Doves, Bulbols and Collared Kingfisher. Just few steps from the trail head I saw one Pied Triller perching in one of the trees that formed part of the vegetation in Loay. Farm plants of banana and coconut are familiar sceneries in combination with vegetables and these wild edible mushrooms we commonly call “libgos”.
As we descended to a different path in Zone 1 ridge, we saw the 796 hill, the one visible in sitio Patulagon and Pintuan, dividing our vision to two famous companies in Franklin Baker and Seaoil Depot Plant. The same track was used by Vertical to Sky during the Mt. Apo Sky and Vertical Race last April 21. As we trekked further down to Kiblan, I was able to spot a different perspective of Mt. Bariraya at the back and the huge stone formation laid out in the hills of Langan. The trail was too tricky at times there were instances some of my climb mates stumbled along the way.
After more or less two hours of downhill trekking we reached Kiblan junction, an area developed by the European Union-funded project Upland Development Programme in the early parts of year 2000. The site has two hanging bridges, one being used as access to Langan while the other one serves as gateway to Kibarangan. I was told by my trail running colleagues that Kiblan was the jump off point to a more strenuous assault in Mt. Leong, the third summit featured in the Vertical to Sky Race last April.
A short trek up west from Kiblan is a natural pool that hosts congregated streams from Binuangon surface water basin. Here we were able to cool down and relax with the very cold pool water and the mini waterfalls adjoining its perimeter. Beside the pool is a lush forest shading almost the entire Kiblan.
After an excellent side trip we ran the remaining five kilometres of open trail from Kiblan to National Highway of Coronon.
This crossover climb in Loay and Kiblan was part of the annual basic Mountaineering Course conducted by the Local Government Unit of Sta. Cruz to its employees as a continuous effort to educate the participants the importance of environmental conservation and protection in view of the increasing ecotourism activities in the municipality.